Kevin Durant was a member of the Golden State Warriors from 2016 to 2019.
During that stretch he led the team to two titles and three NBA Finals appearances.
In addition, Durant also captured two NBA Finals MVPs for himself and legitimately risked his body in the 2019 NBA Finals to help his squad out. For his troubles, he ended up getting hurt and missing the entire 2019-20 season.
In addition to all his contributions to the Warriors and everything he did for the franchise on the court, Durant also played a pivotal role in how swiftly they were able to return to the NBA Finals in 2022.
This week, ESPN NBA insider Ramona Shelburne did a deep dive into how the Warriors made it back to the NBA Finals so quickly. There were a lot of interesting tidbits, but perhaps the most notable was the role Durant played in Golden State’s speedy rebuild.
Essentially, when Durant made the decision to leave in 2019, he could’ve just bounced. There was no reason for him to help facilitate the sign-and-trade that ultimately ended up helping Golden State get something for him on his way out.
“[Bob] Myers’ pitch to Durant was a personal one,” Shelburne wrote. “There was no incentive for Durant to help the Warriors recoup some assets on his way out of town. If anything, sources said, Durant wasn’t keen on the idea of being traded at all. Players of his stature rarely are.”
But ultimately, Durant agreed.
“Eventually Golden State added a highly protected future first-round pick (which has become a 2025 second-rounder) to make it worth Durant and the Nets’ while,” Shelburne continued. “But the bedrock of this entire deal was the goodwill that had been built between Myers, Durant and [Rich] Kleiman during their short-lived, but successful run together.”
“Do the right thing,” Kleiman told Shelburne. “And we both love Bob.”
For all the flak Durant constantly gets over his time in The Bay, him okaying the sign-and-trade is what permitted the Warriors to get D’Angelo Russell. And that move is what paved the way for Russell to be swapped for Andrew Wiggins – who has played an instrumental role in the team’s resurgence.
Just this week, Durant and Draymond Green had a very public back-and-forth online about the former’s time with Golden State. That has become par for the course. Durant often gets disrespected when talk turns to his two championships with the Warriors.
It’s very odd.
Not only did Durant legitimately help bring a pair of chips to The Bay, but he also ensured that the franchise could rebuild in a hurry when he ultimately decided to leave.
Now that’s how you do a vacation. https://t.co/NADscaKxey
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 2, 2022
If anything, Warriors fans should thank him.
Will the man ever get the flowers he deserves from Dub Nation?
Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.